Clothing was always in her blood though Costume Design came later. Two time Oscar nominee Jacqueline West (Quills, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the daughter of an avante garde designer, originally pursued fashion. After building a successful clothing line of her own her career made a sudden fate-filled turn in the late 80s via a favor for a personal friend, the director Philip Kaufman.
Her filmography in the subsequent 25 years has been a grab bag of film genres -- her latest The Revenant (2015) is a 180 from Henry & June (1990) you must agree -- but the consistent throughline is that she's in demand with the auteur set. She's worked repeatedly with Terrence Malick, David Fincher, Philip Kaufman, and Ben Affleck. The Revenant marks her first, though one assumes not last, collaboration with Alejandro González Iñárritu. To get in the right mindset, she drew on her personal history -- she was intimately familiar with the Hugh Glass story before Inarittu and Leo were all about making it for the screen-- and eventually read a ton of journals by fur trappers, including the invaluable "40 Years as a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri."
Our conversation starts with The Revenant but you know yours truly won't let this talented woman go without talking Henry & June and other more glamourous gigs...
NATHANIEL R: You've designed many gorgeous movie costumes over the years but for The Revenant your challenge is so different. I imagine a lot of your job this time was making the clothes look disgusting!
JACQUELINE WEST: [Laughter]
NATHANIEL: They're overworn. They're muddy. They're bloody. [More...]